Summary: For God to forgive us our huge debt, we must forgive others their little ones.
Tuesday of 3rd week of Lent
17 March 2009
The author of Daniel and the storyteller behind this unique parable of Matthew have the same question in mind: what does God require of us? The answer is in the OT tradition of Micah and Isaiah: live loyally, act justly, and walk humbly with your God.
God has reconciled us to Himself, not by the sacrifice of rams and goats, but by an action that He Himself undertook. God, knowing that we could not possibly bridge the chasm between weak, sinful human nature, and the divine nature, took on our human nature. His Son became one of us, weak, but not sinful. He did what none of us could do–He said “yes” to God in all things, even to the point of death. He never rebelled. And so He attained what was His by right, what He had given up to become human–divine honor and stature. And by doing so, He attained the grace that we can live His life. We can have the life of God in us.
If. . .and this is the big “if”. . .we repent and act justly, live loyally, and walk humbly with God. This means, of course, loving God, praising Him, and loving our neighbor. We must treat our neighbor with the same love and compassion God treats us all with. That first of all means, as we will pray momentarily, that we must forgive the debts–the sins–of our brothers and sisters just as we have been forgiven. That can be as trivial as ignoring a badly phrased “friendly insult” out in the quad, one that might otherwise lead to a shoving match as the adrenaline kicks up. It can be as profound as forgiving the murderer of your wife or daughter or mom or dad. It means forgiving those outside our school who seem always to have it in for us. It means forgiving quickly and thoroughly and forever, and never holding a grudge.
I think that, this Lent, is one of the primary ways God’s grace can work in us. I need to forgive; you need to forgive. It is the precondition for our reconciliation with God. How much has God forgiven us? Well, let’s compare the Biblical debts in this parable. Ten thousand golden talents would be like the national debt today, which will soon be $13 trillion. One hundred denarii would be like $5,000. That’s like what God has forgiven us, compared to the little ills that God requires us to forgive. We must forgive the little debts, so God can forgive our great big one.